Some of the most exciting adventures I’ve taken with the kids have put us close to wild animals. At first the two seem like polar opposites but there are ways to encourage wildlife conservation and educate children through activities and games that promote nature and the wild world.We’ve been lucky enough to head out on Safari in Africa, in search of tigers in India, whale watching in the Galapagos and more.
But not every wildlife encounter has to be a Bucket List one.
Helping our kids learn about wildlife and have a healthy respect for the species that share our planet can have a big impact on their lives even when it isn’t a bucket list trip.

Recently, I shared some ways that families can start to instill that love of wildlife in young children with National Geographic Kids Family Magazine. (You can download a free copy of last year’s issue here.) In this year’s cover story – Keeping it Wild: 25 Vacation Ideas that turn Children into Wild Life Protectors – – I highlight 25 simple things you can do while traveling, to help your kids begin to think about the animals that call an area home.

Why is Respecting Wildlife Important?

It’s not just about protecting the animals outdoors either. Teaching kids to care about the world around them – inside and out – can go a long way to making them better humans and neighbours. Alongside the main article you’ll find a piece I also wrote that explains a bit more. I had the pleasure of chatting with Mary Gordon, the founder and president of Roots of Empathy for that piece and found in her a kindred spirit when it comes to raising better people. Roots ofEmpathy is committed to helping to build empathy skills in kids around the world. Its a skill that is vital to human well-being.
In my article “Make a Better Kid,” she shares a few thoughts on why empathy-building is important, and the ways wildlife encounters – even the tiny ones – can help.

When children see an animal in the wild and learn to care about its well-being, they’re cultivating a skill that will serve them from the playground to the boardroom: empathy.

Mary Gordon, founder and president of Roots of Empathy

Wildlife For Kids: Want to read more?

And that’s just the beginning. I wrote two more articles relating to the topic.
Pop over to learn about four destinations where you can get a great vacation and have a cool wildlife experience. Or read “Do this, not that” to brush up on some simple alternatives to unintentionally wildlife-damaging or risky behaviours that you can teach the kids. Hint: You may want to skip the selfie.

And if you feel the need to read more articles about wildlife, wildlife conservation or are looking for more activities that can help teach kids about nature, be sure to see some of the other pieces over at National Geographic Kids. And be sure to share the pieces that speak to you with your friends. We can all do our part to make the world a little friendlier to our critter pals.